Sooooo this has been a long time coming. I posted a ‘fitness journey’ video on my YouTube channel over a year ago and I feel like a blog post was a MUCH needed update.
DISCLAIMER: I am by no-means promoting that one body is “better” than the other. I also want to mention that some discussions along the timeline of my journey may be triggering for anyone struggling with their food and/or body relationship(s). This topic has been requested MANY times and I feel like it * may * help somewhere or somehow by sharing my own experiences and learnings. But anyways, let’s get into this shit.
I danced 13+ hours a week, in and outside of school. I was super confident and was considered ‘fit’ by my friends and peers. I never really lacked self-confidence or esteem. My metabolism must have been hella fast and danced helped me stay hella fit because I ate whatever I wanted with no questions. My go-to meals consisted of:
eggo waffles (x4 daily)
chocolate milk made with loads of nesquick syrup
cheese tortellini (either in loads of butter + cheese OR rose sauce + cheese)
bagels slathered with butter or cream cheese
whole family sized frozen pizzas to myself
yam tempura rolls (lots till the point of sickness)
chicken fingers + fries
grilled cheese (always 2 per meal, extra cheese and butter)
ice cream drowned in hardening chocolate sauce (sometimes accompanied by homemade cookie dough) followed by goldfish crackers
FRESHMAN YEAR (2017-2018)
I stopped dancing and was working out * ocassionally * at the gym. I was determined to not gain the freshman15…. I went out 2-3x a week, chased my drinks with juice boxes and followed nights out with McDonald’s Junior Chicken’s or pizza from the local pizza place. Pints of Ben and Jerry’s, McFlurry’s or McDonald’s sundaes were my comfort food when anxious or stressed about ANYTHING. Let’s just say, I didn’t eat the best to fuel my bod and definitely over did it in more ways than one, WAY too frequently. OH and I was convincued I was loosing weight TILL spring break.
I guess this is sort of that moment of * realization * that everyone goes through when beginning their fitness or health journey. I was on vacation with my parents in Mexico and I remember getting to the hotel room so excited to put on a bather and cute shorts to go hang by the pool. The moment ended quite quickly when I tried to put on a pair of my favourite loose cotton shorts from Brandy Melville. I knew I had maybe put a little bit of weight since going to uni, but not enough to not fit into my clothes…. well I was wrong on that front. The shorts fit, I guess, but no where near where the way that they had fit me summers before. Honestly, this moment was quite breaking for my self-esteem. I broke down. I knew my jean shorts had been too tight when packing so I didn’t bring them, but just assumed that loose fitting shorts would fit because they had been loose before.
It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to change something, I just didn’t know what or how. I mean, I didn’t really start on vacation though… I worked out if I remember right, but I most definitely didn’t eat well to nourish my body. I remember eating ice cream at every meal, leaving every meal feeling extremely full and uncomfortable, continuing to drink mud slides as each finished, having multiple desserts, etc. I was for sure over indulging and not nourishing my body right. I was eating and drinking like I had been at university leading up to this vacation.
I had come home from vacation ~10 pounds heavier than I had left (I was getting obsessed with the scale) and that hurt my esteem even more. Up to this point I hadn’t really done much besides trying to follow crash diet plans I found through Instagram and Pinterest. I followed this work out and coordinating diet plan for 3 rounds (each 28 days) from this aussie company (I will refrain from saying the name). I had started to feel a little better and was losing a bit of weight, maybe about 5 pounds. However, I was getting obsessed with cutting out food groups because of this plan. I cut out red meat, dairy and gluten. Hey because of that plan I haven’t looked back on red meat in 2.5 years and honestly it never agreed with me - the same for dairy. But gluten on the other hand, I had gotten so convinced that I had a ‘gluten sensitivity’ and whenever I did have ‘gluten’ I convinced myself so hard that I did, that my body reacted that way (2020 self: no gluten intolerance here).
APRIL 22, 2018
This is the day I started BBG by Kayla Itsines and honestly this day is monumental, or maybe the night before more so. The previous night I was on Instagram and Pinterest once again, scrolling endlessly. I had ended up on a BBG Transformation page and found myself looking at transformation after transformation. I then went to Kayla’s page and started reading the captions on the transformation photos she had reposted of girls who had done her program and how their lives had changed, how they had found self-love, etc. It was at that moment I knew I needed to ACTUALLY change something. I was sick and tired of feeling sorry for myself, for trying fad and crash diets, of feeling insecure and lacking the self-confidence I once had…. because let’s be real here: I grew up with pretty good self-esteem and body confidence, I had a slim frame from dancing competitively and some muscle definition, and I never really worried about my weight or what I was eating. I wanted to feel good and confident like that again for my 19th birthday (August 6) and that was my plan.
I met with an registered dietitian (RD) shortly after to discuss if how I was eating was correct and healthy for a steady weight loss. I was over fad and crash diets, I wanted a sustainable lifestyle and outcome.
So, April 22 I started BBG 1.0 Week 1 in my basement and the rest is history. Jokes… there is still so much more to this story.
So I finished BBG and had completely transformed my eating habits. At this point, I was working out almost everyday. I would do BBG resistance workouts 3 times a week, walk outside 3 times a week (usually 5-8 km) and take a rest day. I was eating a lot of whole foods and still letting myself to a treat every night (I remember I always would go out for ice cream with friends and get a kiddies cone whatever flavour my heart desired). I had lost my Freshman20 and gained so much confidence again. I felt great about myself and strong. I had “completed” my goal.
I had weighed and measured myself once a week throughout the 12 weeks on a weekly basis to keep track of my progress. I also took photos.
I continued to lose weight. I was obsessed with being the smallest I possibly could be, to be honest. Looking back, I was too small. But at the time, I remember wanting my thighs to be thinner and my stomach to be flatter. I chewed gum like a maniac just to convince myself that I wasn’t hungry. Looking back, I wasn’t eating enough IMO. I was still doing BBG and was scared that if I didn’t workout every day, I would gain back the weight. I weighed myself daily * I think * at this point.
I played around with “reverse dieting,” which is tracking macros and working your way up to eat more calories. I had acknowledged that I wasn’t eating enough and that my muscles were looking ‘flat’ because I wasn’t fueling my body correctly. I started working with a friend I had met via Lanibfit on Instagram and increasing my calories and macros every 1-2 weeks. At first it was hard because I was challenging myself to be okay with eating more, but then it became harder because I got so obsessed with the numbers. I eventually stopped because it wasn’t good for me. I am proud of myself for being able to recognize the obsessive, unhealthy thought patterns in myself. However, it was hard for me to be okay with the number going up on the scale (I was still weighing myself frequently).
I had stopped doing BBG after week 24 and started doing HIIT weight workouts I was finding on Instagram. It was fun introducing weights and machines into my workouts and trying something new.
I was bored of IG workouts, so I started doing PWR by Kelsey Wells on the Sweat App. The inspriation behind this was similar to starting BBG through being inspiring by people’s transformation photos and stories. This time round, I wanted to build muscle and get stronger. I also wanted to lift weights more seriously in the gym and thought this was a good introduction and way to learn how to myself. I didn’t find girls who worked out as often as me at uni, so I was on my own.
I remember starting to gain more weight, but it was due to muscle. However, I didn’t really comprehend it as that at the time and wanted to “slim down” after my family vacation. I did 1 week crash diets promoted by famous fitness influencers on IG (she shall stay annoymnous but if you followed me at the time, I am sure you know who). Ya I “lost” weight for that week, but “gained” it back when I started eating how I was before. I ate pretty balanced meals, but not enough calories overall for sure (looking back at my old ‘What I Eat in a Day’ videos on Youtube).
I was also convinced that I was eating intuitively, but looking back I was not. I was still looking at nutrition labels left, right and centre, choosing the lowest cal and carb options ALWAYS.
I got sick and sick bad. It took 2 weeks to diagnose me, but I had fallen sick with Mono. I was bed ridden for 3 weeks and unable to workout for 6-8 weeks on doctor’s orders. If you have had mono, you know it feels like you have been hit with bus and like all energy has been drained out of you and more.
I was petrified at first of gaining all the weight back because I couldn’t workout. I was so sad because I had built so much muscle from PWR and was lifting my heaviest PR (70 pounds) at the time and now I would lose all of that. I finally understood what boys were worried about when they said their muscles would go “soft” if they didn’t workout regularly. However, it was actually being this sick that taught me that I wouldn’t “gain it all back” when I was letting my body rest and heal (sick or not sick) and I am honestly so thankful for that.
During this time, I also ate a lot of my ‘fear foods’, foods that I used to love before going on my ‘fitness journey’ like french toast, chicken fingers and fries from a local deli, acai bowls (with banana in the base AND on top), etc. Although my appetite wasn’t substantial, I let myself eat the foods I was craving whether they were labeled at healthy or not healthy in my eyes and society’s. I learned that it was okay and that eating these foods wouldn’t ‘reverse all my progress’ or make me ‘gain back my freshman20’ either.
However, I was still weighing myself quite frequently due to the fear that not working out and eating these foods would make me gain weight. I was obsessed with that number still and put all my confidence and self worth on it.
I was finally allowed to workout. I was SO excited. I knew I had to take it easy. I had lost a lot of muscle from being stagnent for 6 weeks and being sick, very sick. I had also additionally lost quite a bit of weight and was back to where I was in September 2018 (in terms of weight).
I started doing an IG fitness influencer’s workout program and loved it. It was weight lifting-focused and I felt my strength coming back. I had also started following food combining at this time and became very obsessive with the rules and following it 100% perfectly.
I was doing another IG fitness influencer’s workout program, also weight lifting but lower weights. I was convinced weights were making me “bulky” and was sticking to lifting 30 pounds or less. I was still doing food combining pretty strictly even though I convinced myself it was 80/20 and I ate like this ‘naturally’.
I started to experience feelings of pressure in my lower abdomin that were very uncomfortable. The following week after starting to feel this pressure, I was severely bloated and in discomfort to the point where I could not wear pants and did not want to workout. I felt very unconfident too. I went to my doctor after 5-6 days of extreme bloating and discomfort. She instructed me to start a low FODMAP diet (I was not excited for this) and I reached out to an RD who helped navigate me through it.
At this time, I stopped following food combining. This was a huge mental struggle for me. Following a low FODMAP diet was also very hard and felt very restrictive as many of my favourite foods I had to avoid for the next 5 weeks (i.e. mushrooms, mango, apples, etc). I started to incorporate fish and eggs back into my diet after being encouraged by my RD and mom.
I was in my challenge stage (stage 2 - you reintroduce high FODMAP foods one at a time) of my low FODMAP diet but still felt very restricted. This feeling of restriction led to binging at night and resulting in weight gain. The weight just wouldn’t stop adding up, even if I went back to eating how I did when I first start BBG (still following low FODMAP guidelines) and even after stopping to binge.
I started working with a coach to track macros and gain some control over my weight. The number on the scale didn’t change too much but my physique was starting to change before my eyes. I was doing weight lifting programs that were given to me by my coach. My confidence was coming back, I was eating more food and repairing my relationship with carbs.
I started F45 and became OBSESSED with it. I was working out 5-6 days a week at F45 and then spinning once a week. I had also started working at Lululemon where we often had treats on the table in the backroom. I became comfortable with eating treats without guilt like Timbits (donut holes for my non-Canadians), cookies from Costco, candy and more. It was honestly so freeing.
I was feeling burnt out from my workouts. I was in a rut and the holidays weren’t really helping. I felt myself stressed about hitting my macros, especially protein, and would obsess over them or lie to myself and my coach about what I had actually had that day (under inputting it). I felt restricted again and was finding myself mindlessly eating in the kitchen as a result. I read the book the Fuck It Diet and it was very eye opening, it lead to me to the TRUE meaning of intuitive eating.
I was still going through periods of weighing myself everyday to periods of hiding the scale from myself to break the habit and temptation.
I stopped working with the coach after realizing I was becoming too obsessive with the macros and numbers once again. It wasn’t good for my mental health and I decided to ACTUALLY pursue intuitive eating. I gave into my cravings and just truly let myself eat what I wanted. It took a month or so, but I found a good balance and was experiencing food freedom. But, I fell back into obsession with the scale and the number.
I discovered Lagree and fell in love with low impact exercise. I was having a good mix of different types of workouts from lagree to HIIT to spin, but my main focus was Lagree. I learned that I didn’t have to kill myself in every workout. I learned to listen to my body too and started taking 1-2 rest days a week.
Self-iso happened. I found myself falling back into old habits of over exerting myself. I started BBG again and was doing more HIIT workouts on my LISS days (walking days). After 2 weeks, I discovered I couldn’t do that anymore when starting to feel burtn out and started doing Melissa Wood Health and Solidcore workouts (low impact) on non-BBG days.
I started to listen to my body more. To just walk and be okay with no low impact workouts on non-BBG days. I stopped being so obsessed with the scale, back to just once a week if that, without the need to hide the scale. I let my body do what it needs while still maintaining discipline to complete my resistance BBG HIIT workouts (a delicate dance one must do).
I am at a good place with my eating, finally, I think. I eat what I feel, I don’t check nutrition labels for calories or carb amounts. I focus on filling my plate with whole foods that NOURISH and FUEL my body. I let myself have sweets like chocolate, cookies and muffins WITHOUT guilt. Carbs aren’t the enemy, they’re apart of every meal. Milk is allowed in coffee, if wanted. Sugar is allowed to be added too. There are no ‘food rules’ except avoiding foods I KNOW and MY MOM KNOWS will leave me in agony (not something made up in my head like my gluten sensitivity of march 2019). HECK I have had pasta or quinoa every single day for the past 2 weeks maybe and haven’t had a second thought EVER about making it. I think thats an ACCOMPLISHMENT!
I am learning to love myself again and to embrace my insecurities because those iMpErFeCtIoNs are what makes me ME!
I am by no means “perfect” or “at the end” of my journey, because perfection doesn’t exist and the journey is never ending. I do think though that I have a come along way and plan to continue to work on my relationship with myself and my body.
Is there a chance I may fall back into my old habits? Ya, maybe…. who knows.
Am I going to do everything to try to not let that happen? Ya x1000.
I am only human and so are you. I hope that reading my (hella long) journey has helped you in some way or shape. Feel free to message me on IG whenever. I am always here to chat and I will do my best to help out in whatever way I can.
Please know that your parents, friends and family are ALWAYS there to help you. You are SOOOO much more than that number of the scale (hey, if its higher gravity fucking loves you!) If you feel you are ever unsure or struggling in any way, reach out to your medical professional because THEY KNOW BEST! I always do and I think it is so important for everyone to as well, mental or physical concerns.
So that is it for now….